Participant engagement and consent

In this series we will explore how to apply the principles of data protection to your research study as well as how to engage with and take informed consent from your research participants.

Two lego figures shaking hands
Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Introduction

Many people associate the words ‘research ethics’ with red tape and think of it as just another tick box exercise that they have to complete in order to begin their research.

However the concept of research ethics first came to the forefront of people’s minds because of the Nuremburg trials and the horrendous atrocities that were committed on innocent human beings. After the trials, the Declaration of Helsinki was drafted. It outlines the basic ethical principles that researchers must adhere to when conducting their studies. Put simply it is protection and respect for other people, something that we should all be thinking about when designing and conducting our studies.

If you automatically tend to associate research ethics with burdensome requirements, you need to change focus and remember why these principles are important: to keep people safe.

The University of Manchester fully supports the creativity and ingenuity of our research community but we also take the safety, rights, well-being and confidentiality of our research participants extremely seriously.

To support this, we have a wealth of guidance information available to help you meet the balance between methodologically sound yet ground breaking research that is safe, well managed and committed to the protection of those who take part.

Take a look at each of the posts in this series which explore the ways in which you can ensure your study is designed and conducted in a way that also supports this balance and ultimately leads to good quality research.

Links to each resource

Throughout the resources there will be case studies where we will ask you to reflect upon what you know and what you have learnt. We highly recommend you read through each of these posts in order to get a good understanding of the topic. Click the links below to access each post:

Frequently Asked Questions

Further detailed information on all of the topics that are covered in this series are available on the Research Ethics website and via the Frequently Asked Questions document. If after reading these resources you still have specific queries related to your research study, we would encourage you to first speak with your supervisor or Ethics Signatory.

The central ethics team are also available to assist with complex ethical queries from supervisors or Ethics Signatories.

Thank you to our contributors

These resources were created in partnership with University of Manchester’s Research governance, ethics and integrity team. Special thanks to Genevieve Pridham, Research Ethics Manager who wrote and advised on the content.

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